Distinctive Characters: Dorsal fin with 9 spines and 10 rays. Anal fin with 3 spines and rays. Body depth 2.5- 3.0 in standard length. Dorsal profile of head from mouth to above eye concave. Mouth terminal or with lower jaw slightly projecting. Head scaled to above middle of eye. Caudal fin rounded in all stages.
Colour: Mottled brownish red. Dart spots on each side of upper lip, in front of dorsal fin, and sometimes behind eye. Juveniles and sub-adults with a midlateral row of small dark spots on body.
Habitat and Biology: A shy and secretive coral reef species. Distribution: Indo-Pacific.
Remarks: Cheilinus oxycephalus is easily overlooked by divers and snorkellers due to its secretive habit and dull colouration.